Bryant ready for special session to fund Medicaid at existing level
Gov. Phil Bryant wants a special legislative session to fund Medicaid at current levels.
JACKSON, MS (WDAM) -
Gov. Phil Bryant says he's ready to call a special session to deal with Mississippi's Medicaid budget, but only if Democrats agree to fund it at the existing level. During the regular legislative session, Democrats and the GOP failed to agree on funding the program for the next budget year.
Democrats want it expanded as part of Obamacare. But, Bryant says the state can't afford that and says Medicaid patients are being unfairly punished.
"It would take the Democratic Party and their leadership to call me, they've got my phone number, they know how to get in touch with me and say we will come back to Jackson tomorrow and in one afternoon, we will re-authorize and fund the existing Medicaid program and they'll be gone by that night," Bryant said. "Then we can talk about expansion after that, but don't hold the current Medicaid population hostage," he said.
Wednesday afternoon, president Obama unveiled his 2014 budget, which recommends a one-year delay in reductions to disproportionate share hospital payments under the Affordable Care Act.
Gov. Bryant says he's pleased with the decision and says it supports his position that the budget and authorization for the current Medicaid program in our state should be adopted.
However, hospital officials say the delay only affects Medicaid disproportionate share payments and not Medicare disproportionate share payments.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Mississippi hospitals stood to lose about $10 million from Medicaid disproportionate share payments the first year, but could potentially lose $150 million as a result of Medicare disproportionate share cuts.